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Imperial Valley, IV

Imperial Valley, IV is the fourth in Richard Skelton’s ‘projective ethnography’ series of ‘imaginal field recordings’ for Depression-era southern California. Recorded under his CF Moore/ Imperial Valley pseudonym, these unique soundworks were created with archive audio from the period — ranging from public domain tv & radio broadcasts to documentary and oral history records. This found material was extensively reworked and manipulated before being blended with contemporary acoustic instrumentation to create a richly layered aggregate of ‘folded time’. Imperial Valley, IV veers more towards live acoustic improvisation than its predecessors, but the album’s coda contains excerpts from an early 1940s speech about the importance of democracy in the face of totalitarianism by Congressman Jerry Voorhis. It’s a warning call that resonates across the decades — a warning that is uncomfortably relevant today, given the USA’s current political climate.

Imperial Valley, California, was the site of many labor camps for migrant workers escaping the dust-bowl famines of the 1930s. Some of these camps were documented by photographer Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration. Her 1936 portrait of Florence Owens Thompson at the Nipomo camp in northern California came to symbolize the plight of migrant farmers across the country. Lange’s lesser-known work for the FSA has served as an ongoing inspiration for Skelton — so much so that he terms these recordings ‘auditory nitrates after the work of Dorothea Lange’. Published through Skelton’s Folded Time imprint, the Imperial Valley series has extended into the photographic domain with a collection of ‘revisioned’ Dorothea Lange images.

 

Printed reproductions of Lange’s work were rephotographed and then superimposed to create ghostly double exposures that evoke the foreboding sense of unease that often permeates the music. These photographs were in turn reprinted using a reprographic machine with an intentionally depleted toner supply to create a prematurely faded monotone appearance. Due to the vagaries of the reproduction process using this method, each print is unique, bearing the various artefacts and defects of the (misused) technology. The result is an assemblage of materials that, for Skelton, emphasises the erasures of time’s passing and the failures of collective memory.

Imperial Valley, IV

Second Edition

 

- An artist-made seal-embossed folder with a paste-on coverplate
- Three artist-made printed CDRs comprising the albums
Imperial Valley I, II and IV

- Three CDR sleeves with unique paste-on cover art

- A download card for the exclusive recording:

'Remote etheric dowsing, Superstition Mountain, Mar 20, 2024'
- Seven A4 laser prints from the Folded Time archive
- Three 9x13cm inkjet prints from the Folded Time archive
- Five typewritten excerpts from Depression-era texts
- An initialled, numbered and hand-stamped colophon

 

Price:

€60 euros

plus VAT (where applicable) and insured shipping

*

This pre-order is now closed.


 

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